Journal Of Neuroimmunology
In this report, we have addressed the role of copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) deficiency in the mediation of central nervous system autoimmunity. We demonstrate that SOD1-deficient C57Bl/6 mice develop more severe autoimmune encephalomyelitis induced with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) 35-55, compared with wild type mice. This alteration in the disease phenotype was not due to aberrant expansion of MOG-specific T cells nor their ability to produce inflammatory cytokines; rather lymphocytes generated in SOD1-deficient mice were more prone to spontaneous cell death when compared with their wild type littermate controls. The data point to a role for SOD1 in the maintenance of self-tolerance leading to the suppression of autoimmune responses.